The Dallas Mavericks ran into a few injuries as of late, and with the playoffs just a few short weeks away, they need to be winning as many games as possible. So when Kyrie Irving returned to the court on Saturday night, it was a breath of fresh air for Dallas.
They took on the Los Angeles Lakers, and the game came down to the wire. But in the end, Irving made a miraculous pass to Maxi Kleber, who sank the game-winning three. After the game, Kleber had some kind words for Irving when discussing what he’s been like as a teammate.
“First of all, he’s very experienced. Very calm,” Kleber said via the Fanatics View YouTube channel. “He knows how to talk to people [and] where to set up people. [He] sees the strengths in players and knows what he expects them to do. So, that helps a lot. And then, obviously, like I said, he’s a very, very great teammate. He always has positive spirits, uplifting words, and all that. So, I’m very appreciative to be able to play with him. I think I learn a lot from just his body language. The way he interacts with his teammates. Just a great character guy.”
Kleber put up fairly mediocre stats leading up to his buzzer-beater. The big man finished the night with 10 points, four rebounds, and two assists on 2-of-4 shooting from the floor and 1-of-3 shooting from beyond the three-point arc.
As for Irving, he had a monster game. The star point guard dropped 38 points, six rebounds, and six assists on 14-of-23 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 shooting from behind the three-point line.
Kyrie Irving Breaks Down Final Play
After the contest, Irving broke down the final play of the game, explaining what went down from his perspective.
“It seemed like three of them were around me at the end of the game,” Irving said via the Fanatics View YouTube channel. “But I’m just grateful that I was able to have my head on the swivel. I thought about, for a split second, forcing that two up to tie the basketball game. But I saw Maxi open. I saw AD [Anthony Davis] kind of helping a little too much. So, I tried to get it into his shot pocket, and I’m glad I got it to him with enough time to at least get the shot off. I could easily be sitting in this position with a loss. It was just that type of game. But I’m glad we were resilient. We got really lucky and fortunate at the end of regulation tonight, so I’m glad it worked out for us.”
Anthony Davis Sounds Off After Losing to Mavs
In addition, Lakers big man Anthony Davis, who sagged off of Kleber, allowing him to nail the game-winner, spoke about the final possession post-game.
“With seven seconds, he [Irving] dribbled almost the whole clock out,” Davis said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “Me just reading him. Knowing that he’s probably going to take the last shot. He goes into his actual shooting motion and just comes down with it. He doesn’t shoot it. So, when he goes up [and] it kind of pulled me in. I was going for the rebound. Thought he was shooting it. He made a pass to Kleber. He makes the shot.”